(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) A company has been formed to operate and maintain the Arab world's first nuclear power plant.
At a meeting of the board of directors of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, or Enec, it was decided to set up a company called Nawah Energy Company or Nawah as its wholly-owned operating subsidiary, with a mandate to operate and maintain Barakah Units 1-4.
Nawah's mission will be to safely generate electricity from nuclear energy. "This energy will advance the UAE's growth, development and quality of life for future generations. Nawah aims to become a globally recognised nuclear utility in the safe operation of nuclear energy plants," says a Press release.
The launch of the operating subsidiary will allow the Enec to focus on the delivery of strategic issues related to the UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme, with a special focus on guaranteeing project delivery of the Barakah plants and support and development of the UAE nuclear industry, the Enec said.
The Enec will also continue to represent the interests of the government of Abu Dhabi in the UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme, it said.
The UAE started construction on the four units of 1,400 megawatt each to generate 5,600 MW on April 1, 2010 with drilling work on the site in Barakah, about 53km from Ruwais in the Western Region.
In April, the Enec confirmed that the project is progressing steadily, as Unit 1 is now more than 87 per cent complete, Unit 2 is 68 per cent complete, Unit 3 is 47 per cent complete and Unit 4 is 29 per cent complete. Overall, construction of Units 1 to 4 is now more than 62 per cent complete.
Pending regulatory approval, the four units are scheduled to be delivered by 2020, which will add safe, clean, reliable and efficient nuclear energy to the national grid.
The Enec targets to deliver electricity in 2017. By 2020, it is projected that nuclear energy will produce nearly a quarter of the nation's electricity needs.
When the four reactors are completed, the UAE's peaceful nuclear energy programme will provide approximately 25 per cent of the UAE's electricity needs and save up to 12 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
In 2008, the UAE government conducted a study on the nation's growing energy demands and electricity generation capacity. The study found that by 2020, the UAE's energy demand will rise to more than 40,000 MegaWatts.
With existing and planned capacity to produce less than half of this demand, the UAE was faced with an urgent need to develop additional sources of energy. The government reviewed multiple energy options - oil, gas, coal, renewables and nuclear energy. These were assessed in terms of relative costs, the environment, security of supply and the potential for long-term economic development.